Day 11: MAD-FRA-CPH on Lufthansa – 07 Jan 2010
I knew Lufty had a contract lounge at MAD, but I wanted to check out the Spanair lounge, since they are hubbed at MAD. I already had my boarding passes printed form the previous afternoon and after quickly clearing security I leisurely walked over to the Spanair concourse. Though originally built in 1928, Madrid Barajas is a large and modern airport. Still, it reminded me more of WAW, JFK, and LIS than of my world-class airports like HKG, ZRH, and DME (yes, DME). At least it beat LAX…though I wouldn’t call that a laudable distinction.
I made it to the Spanair lounge and had no trouble getting in with my British Midland Gold card. The lounge was not crowded, nicely furnished, featured computer stations, and complimentary drinks. I give the lounge poor marks overall though because of the poor selection of food. Crackers, cookies, olives only? When an airline lounge makes the RCC look good, there is something very, very wrong.
After checking e-mail, I walked back to the LH contract lounge, Sala VIP, near my LH gate. The food selection was even more dismal in this lounge, but there were some very comfortable chairs. This is the lounge to hit if you are in need of a nap.
I returned to gate about a half hour before departure, but there was no plane in sight. An announcement was made in Spanish, and I ascertained that the flight would be delayed about 30 minutes. Rather than return the lounge, I pulled out a book and nestled myself in next to an overweight German woman complaining on her cell phone about her Halsschmerzen (sore throat) and an English couple discussing the merits of investing in gold. Hyacinth didn’t think George should be investing so many of their pounds in precious metal…
Boarding finally began and I found myself with only two other passengers in the "Business Class’ cabin. The Captain apologized for the delay (first time I’ve ever been on a delayed LH flight!) and attributed it to poor weather in Frankfurt.
Once underway, lunch was served and was delicious–in fact, it was the best airplane meal of the trip. I love lamb and these cutlets were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of rosemary flavoring. The mushrooms and potatoes were perfect accompaniments. Plus, the baguette was served hot and tasted like it had been baked fresh onboard.
I thought I would put my German to the test onboard this flight and tried communicating with the purser exclusively in German. I’m sure she could tell I was not a native speaker, but she bought it and we did indeed converse in German. Usually, flight attendants will switch to English once they hear my sorry German accent.
My original plan was to take a train into FRA for a few hours, but as we approached FRA I decided that I had seen Frankfurt many times before and did not need to take an unnecessary trip in the snow.
After landing at FRA, I retreated to the Senator’s Lounge for a few hours to do knock out some more law school reading. I wasn’t very productive, though. The lounge was packed and I couldn’t find a comfortable nook in the lounge to relax.
A319 from MAD-FRA
Like every visit to a LH lounge, I did load up with plenty of calories
Fatigue descended upon me as I boarded my short flight from Frankfurt to Copenhagen. I passed out as soon as I sat down in my seat, only to be jarred awake by a lengthy announcement from the captain about our flight plan and route to CPH. The snack was unexceptionable, but I never complain when I’m fed on a one-hour flight.
Once we reached CPH, I had two choices: go into town and pay $35 to sleep in a dormitory-style hostel, or stretch out on a couch at the airport and spend the night there. Airport it was.
I tried to access the SAS lounge, but they said I would have to wait till the following day to get in. I found a quiet gate with a leather couch, coffee table, and electrical outlet nearby and got settled. Who needs a hotel when you have a Scandinavian airport?
I slept soundly that night.